Jericho Foster, member of the Columbus Songwriters Association, recently released a music video for his original song, “She’s On Me“, following talks with A&R at Interscope Records. We caught up with Jericho last week:
How and when did you get into rap and why?
I wrote my first song in February 2012. “Epic” was about a truly traumatic breakup and my efforts to understand it and where it had left me. My close friend Joe Hendrickson reviewed the lyrics and encouraged me to record it which for me was a totally new experience. The instant I heard myself come through the speaker on the song after it was finished I was hooked. I realized immediately that I had a way with words and began writing the first few songs of what would eventually become a mix tape “Time will tell”
What was the path or events leading up to being contacted by an A&R from Interscope?
Interscope first came into the picture with me being forwarded an email from an older mentor of sorts who once dabbled in music outside of Columbus before settling down and leading the life he does now. He’s watched me from the start of my endeavors in music and had noted the growth and viewed it as serious potential. During the weekend of my music video shoot for “She’s on me” he sent music links and you tube links from shows of mine to this A&R who evidently is a personal friend of his. There was dialogue between the two of them about me before the rep agreed that I should be brought in on the discussion and given his email. His first email was extremity formal and professional. Questions regarding any existing contracts agreements and legal representation.
While talking with Interscope, what was the process like? Any surprises? Anything you would have done differently?
The best I can describe the process was that of an online or virtual American idol or voice audition. Based off the material he had already reviewed he quickly and thoroughly gave me a run down of what he viewed as pros, cons and overall marketability. His main praise was in regards to my lyrical style and prowess. His main concern with respect to cons was that I sounded deathly similar to “Drake” he ended that segment of an email with a statement to the effect of me having his ear and attention but him not being ready to dive in. He continued and presented me with a request for four unique pieces of work. 1. A battle rap targeted at a specific artist in which I was to display my ability to “go to war” on a track. 2. A song about a very personal experience with pain of some type. He stated he needed to witness an ability to get deep and honest in a song. 3. He asked for an A-cappella track with 16 bars which are a lyrical measure in rap music. 4. Finally he asked for a brief bio with noting more than me talking about myself and why I wanted this. I provided all four to him in literally three days time which to me was a good example of the motto that I created and am becoming known for “AOA” action over acting. He gave my quick turnaround time a pat on the back and asked for several days to review before getting back with me. What I sent to him was my very best as far as I’m concerned and so I’m happy to say I haven’t had to wrestle with wondering what I should have done differently.
After the A&R, is there anything you’re doing differently today in regards to your music, performance, or pursuits as a rap artist?
His ultimate reasoning for not signing me on the spot was my need to develop more into a unique sound. I can say I respectfully disagree and that while lyrically and even vocally I have a lot in common with Drake I still feel very much unique and one of a kind as a new artist. Sadly I do feel that this was an instance where a personal opinion won out versus what should and would really come down to a large consensus from the people. I can say that I’ll be doing nothing different based simply off the results of my interscope episode. I can note however that ill continue to do what I have been doing feverishly from the start. Namely grow lyrically and expand my ability to write about a wide array of topics in a witty and relatable way.
What have you been working on recently and when can we expect the next album?
I recently accomplished two major milestones on time. One was to finish my 15 track sophomore project which as I’ve mentioned has been named ” AOA” action over acting. It truly embodies the mindset that people do and want to act out of as go getters and ambitious people in life. I can say without bias I’m extremely pleased and impressed with the final product which was recorded and written in its entirety in only five months. The diversity in song styles, sounds and feels is very well balanced I’m told. There were a total of three producers involved from located from Seattle to Nashville to right here in my town Columbus. I’ve been engaged with a Mr. Robert Acevada from a group called “Iconic productions” who along with “ELLi entertainment” where influential in shooting my first music video. Now that that’s behind us as a trial run of how working together would be, we are hammering out the pros , cons and figures of me potentially signing a local management contract with the agency. They have connections with many major clubs and DJs in Columbus and I’ve already begun working with a “DJ Clarity” from a meeting setup by them. He’s literally producing as I type this a club banger type song similar to “promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado and “Timbaland” back in ’06. It will be my first collaboration with a female artist and I’m excited to hear in play in clubs like “adobe gilas” at Easton and end zone in the arena district. The official release date for “AOA” is 7/4/13 with a final location of the launch party to be announced. Shows are being lined up for the summer as well which will include com fest and the Columbus arts festival in August. It’s exceptionally exciting to be creating something out of thin air a primarily independent artist and I pray that my city will put the momentum behind me that I need to represent us abroad in the rap game.